Chernobyl (HBO Mini Series)

Chernobyl (HBO Mini Series)

Author
Discussion

ruggedscotty

3,368 posts

174 months

Friday 3rd January 2020
quotequote all
https://www.focc.org.uk/the-chernobyl-disaster.htm...

More than seven million of our fellow human beings are still suffering, every day,
as a result of what happened ....years ago.
​The legacy of Chernobyl will be with us,and our descendants, for generations to come.
- Kofi Annan, the United Nations Secretary General - April 2000

Whole swathes of land were deemed unsafe to live or farm upon. These Restricted Zones are part of the countryside in today’s Belarus, and are often bordered by villages and active farms. Some have been re-opened to allow settlement and farming while others remain strictly controlled, often requiring permission to even be allowed to travel through them. Once known as the breadbasket of Europe, these contaminated lands are no longer commercially viable, and what little agriculture remains is used to feed the local population.
In places cattle still graze the land providing milk and meat, and poverty ensures that the local people continue to be exposed to the radiation through the local food chain.

Through the charity I know of children that have contracted cancer through this, the rates of cancer before the accident compared to post accident rates speak volumes...

https://allthingsnuclear.org/lgronlund/how-many-ca...

https://www.livescience.com/65673-is-visiting-cher...

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effects_of_the_Che...

https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/high...

==> there is plenty of information out there but you should do your own homework, Some know the risks of smoking but still do, some know the risks but will quite happily do 155 down the M6.

I think any visit to these areas should be though through and considered very carefully, as I said the money for a trip there may in fact be better received through donation to a charity that is helping people cope with the left over from the disaster. the poverty in the area can be linked to the fallout from the disaster. so much links back to this incident.

Sway

18,758 posts

159 months

Friday 3rd January 2020
quotequote all
From one of your links on cancers...

"among the 5 million persons residing in other “contaminated” areas, the doses are much lower and any projected increases are more speculative, but are expected to make a difference of less than one per cent in cancer mortality."

ruggedscotty

3,368 posts

174 months

Saturday 4th January 2020
quotequote all
Geiger counters still go wild in hotspots in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, a 19-mile security area around the plant that has become an overgrown forest full of thriving wildlife. A short stay is relatively safe, but the area won't be fit for human habitation for at least 10,000 years.

https://www.who.int/ionizing_radiation/chernobyl/b...

https://academic.oup.com/epirev/article/27/1/56/52...

https://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2005...

there is a lot of material out there and understanding of the risks presented by the disaster vary..

llewop

3,295 posts

176 months

Saturday 4th January 2020
quotequote all
ruggedscotty said:
https://www.focc.org.uk/the-chernobyl-disaster.htm...

More than seven million of our fellow human beings are still suffering, every day,
as a result of what happened ....years ago.
?The legacy of Chernobyl will be with us,and our descendants, for generations to come.
- Kofi Annan, the United Nations Secretary General - April 2000

Whole swathes of land were deemed unsafe to live or farm upon. These Restricted Zones are part of the countryside in today’s Belarus, and are often bordered by villages and active farms. Some have been re-opened to allow settlement and farming while others remain strictly controlled, often requiring permission to even be allowed to travel through them. Once known as the breadbasket of Europe, these contaminated lands are no longer commercially viable, and what little agriculture remains is used to feed the local population.
In places cattle still graze the land providing milk and meat, and poverty ensures that the local people continue to be exposed to the radiation through the local food chain.

Through the charity I know of children that have contracted cancer through this, the rates of cancer before the accident compared to post accident rates speak volumes...

https://allthingsnuclear.org/lgronlund/how-many-ca...

https://www.livescience.com/65673-is-visiting-cher...

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effects_of_the_Che...

https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/high...

==> there is plenty of information out there but you should do your own homework, Some know the risks of smoking but still do, some know the risks but will quite happily do 155 down the M6.

I think any visit to these areas should be though through and considered very carefully, as I said the money for a trip there may in fact be better received through donation to a charity that is helping people cope with the left over from the disaster. the poverty in the area can be linked to the fallout from the disaster. so much links back to this incident.
Totally agree on doing homework, but it shouldn't necessarily be either or; if people are curious and want to visit, fine, if others want to support charities that work in the area, also fine, but not impossible to do both. As has been stated, 'black tourism' or whatever phrase you care to use is widespread, visits to the Normandy beaches or first world war trenches are on the same spectrum. If it improves awareness and perhaps encourages 'lets not do this again....' can be a good thing.

I did have a look at the charity website last night and have looked at your links this morning - the first is the only really interesting one to me.

Poverty, risks etc are interesting; the number of smokers and heavy drinkers out there is beyond belief; helped no doubt by cigarettes being about 1/10th of the price in UK (or they were when I was there), Ukraine and Belarus were poor countries before the accident and obviously it won't have helped things, but there are many other factors that make it difficult to impossible to actually link them.

I'm going to quote directly from a paper that was in my bin having nearly thrown the journal out (I won't now!)
The challenge for radiation epidemiology is evaluating the effects at low doses, below 100 mGy of low-linear energy transfer radiation, and assessing the risks following low dose-rate exposures over years. The weakness of radiation epidemiology in directly studying low dose and low dose-rate exposures is that the signal 'i.e. the excess number of cancers associated with low-level radiation exposure, is so very small that it cannot be seen against a lifetime risk of incidence reaching up to about 38% (i.e. 1 on 3 persons will develop a cancer in their lifetime).
So going back to the first link: population 92 million in the 'wider Ukraine/Belarus', 9,000 predicted excess cancers; ambient cancers expected; 34 million. In the 'contaminated areas of Belarus, Ukraine and Russian', population 6.4 million, 6,000 excess cancers predicted, ambient cancers expected 2.4 million.

But having said that, the models being used to predict those excess cancers are not necessarily correct; the article at the link talks about the LNT 'Linear non-threshold' model and collective dose, which whilst an interesting number isn't very helpful in determining individual risk [tangent - when I used to get involved in nuclear accident exercises, you could often 'forecast' more fatalities in London than wherever the accident was being played as large population x not much dose = big number]. LNT is currently being challenged as not being technically accurate, but is generally accepted as 'the best we can do until we can get the analysis to work better'.

whilst looking for a clarification on where LNT might be going I found this....
UNSCEAR 2017 Report: Sources, Effects and Risks of Ionising Radiation. report to the general assembly, Annex B included Case controlled study in Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine, whilst there appeared to be a risk identified (particularly in Ukraine) there were large uncertainties in the data and analysis: The general conclusions of the Committee thus remain that there is little convincing evidence to suggest a measurable increase in the risk of leukaemia among those exposed as children to the radiation resulting from the accident at Chernobyl. This conclusion is consistent with the earlier cancer registry studies of childhood cancer risk in Europe following the Chernobyl accident.

I am not belittling the exposures that occurred or even continue to occur, there is mention of contamination in food, I saw that, I measured that, I experienced that: we went down to Kiev periodically and could see very low levels of activity in each of us due to what we'd eaten and could see a correlation with eating habits (those that ate more 'locally' had higher levels than those that mostly ate from supermarkets). But radiation is far from the only health factor in the region - winters of -30C and beyond, summer +40C, drinking, smoking and the roads/driving habits are at times a cause for genuine terror!

that has used up my available brain power this early on a Saturday, I need more coffee! We need to be mindful of radiation and its effects, but not scared of it; trying to keep that somewhere close to balanced is what gets me up in the morning!

footnote for Ruggedscotty, I did see your comment this morning before hitting 'submit', the links are good and for anyone who wants to understand more, good information if somewhat turgid at times. But as for but 'the area won't be fit for human habitation for at least 10,000 years', there are locals, still alive, who moved back home from very soon after the accident (or never left) and the town of Chernobyl is widely used as a 'barracks' for site workers and those employed in the exclusion zone.

ruggedscotty

3,368 posts

174 months

Saturday 4th January 2020
quotequote all
cheers llewop

I too now need some coffee, lot of information in your reply. I believe that there is a lot of terror with nuclear power, being conditioned that the threat of nuclear war was horrific and all that tends to make you think about nuclear disasters and the like.

They had some discussions on the actual explosion at Chernobyl about the ferocity of the fire and the spread of radiation. The scientific establishment are learning a lot from this. they way things went and what went wrong. I found it fascinating reading on the investigations, then they started to think that they did indeed have a partial nuclear explosion. more of a fizzle than a bonafide one but it was the start of one and the forces of the explosion breaking it apart before it took hold. the byproducts indicating the reaction. different spreads of byproducts giving more weight to the thought that there was two unique types of explosion that occurred. from the findings it appears that its the cesium that's giving them the worry. lasts a lot longer I believe.


Clockwork Cupcake

65,820 posts

237 months

Saturday 4th January 2020
quotequote all
ruggedscotty said:
I found it fascinating reading on the investigations, then they started to think that they did indeed have a partial nuclear explosion. more of a fizzle than a bonafide one but it was the start of one and the forces of the explosion breaking it apart before it took hold.
That's not how nuclear reactors work. The idea that they are barely-contained bombs is just a popular trope / myth and has no grounding in reality.

It's actually extremely difficult, and takes a load of very specific conditions, to design and detonate a nuclear bomb and get a corresponding explosion. Those conditions simply cannot be met under any circumstances in a reactor.




Edited by Clockwork Cupcake on Saturday 4th January 14:16

ruggedscotty

3,368 posts

174 months

Saturday 4th January 2020
quotequote all
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chernobyl_disaster#F...


Fizzled nuclear explosion hypothesis
The force of the second explosion and the ratio of xenon radioisotopes released after the accident (a vital tool in nuclear forensics) indicated to Yuri V. Dubasov in a 2009 publication (suggested before him by Checherov in 1998),[citation needed] that the second explosion could have been a nuclear power transient resulting from core material melting in the absence of its water coolant and moderator. Dubasov argues that the reactor did not simply undergo a runaway delayed-supercritical exponential increase in power into the multi-gigawatt power range. That permitted a dangerous "positive feedback" runaway condition, given the lack of passive nuclear safety stops, such as Doppler broadening, when power levels began to increase above the commercial level.[55]
The evidence for this hypothesis originates at Cherepovets, Vologda Oblast, Russia, 1000 km northeast of Chernobyl. Physicists from the V.G. Khlopin Radium Institute in Leningrad measured anomalous xenon-135 — a short half-life isotope — levels at Cherepovets four days after the explosion, even as the general distribution was spreading the radiation to the north in Scandinavia. It is thought that a nuclear event in the reactor may have raised xenon to higher levels in the atmosphere than the later fire did, which moved the xenon to that location.[56]
That while this positive-feedback power excursion, which increased until the reactor disassembled itself by means of its internal energy and external steam explosions,[4] is the more accepted explanation for the cause of the explosions, Dubasov argues instead that a runaway prompt criticality occurred, with the internal physics being more similar to the explosion of a fizzled nuclear weapon, and that this failed/fizzle event produced the second explosion.[55]
This nuclear fizzle hypothesis, then mostly defended by Dubasov, was examined further in 2017 by retired physicist Lars-Erik De Geer in an analysis that puts the hypothesized fizzle event as the more probable cause of the first explosion.[57][58][59] The more energetic second explosion, which produced the majority of the damage, has been estimated by Dubasov in 2009 as equivalent to 40 billion joules of energy, the equivalent of about 10 tons of TNT. Both the 2009 and 2017 analyses argue that the nuclear fizzle event, whether producing the second or first explosion, consisted of a prompt chain reaction (as opposed to the consensus delayed neutron mediated chain-reaction) that was limited to a small portion of the reactor core, since expected self-disassembly occurs rapidly in fizzle events.[55][57][60]
Lars-Eric De Geer comments:
"We believe that thermal neutron mediated nuclear explosions at the bottom of a number of fuel channels in the reactor caused a jet of debris to shoot upwards through the refuelling tubes. This jet then rammed the tubes' 350kg plugs, continued through the roof and travelled into the atmosphere to altitudes of 2.5-3km where the weather conditions provided a route to Cherepovets. The steam explosion which ruptured the reactor vessel occurred some 2.7 seconds later."[56]

raceboy

12,329 posts

245 months

Saturday 4th January 2020
quotequote all
This appears to have all got a bit deep recently!
Any thoughts on the most ecological souvenir to get from the gift shop? winkroflpaperbag

Gary C

7,772 posts

144 months

Saturday 4th January 2020
quotequote all
ruggedscotty said:
No matter how you cast it, it went bang !

I do think it was a prompt critical excursion, but thats by the by. He commanded his operators to operate the reactor outside of its permitted safe envelope and it went bang. The design allowing an over moderated assembly and graphite tipped control rods ultimately 'caused' the explosion, but the operating standards were unforgivable.

I watched the refuelling of an RBMK once, (had to hide in the little room up the stairs from the pile cap, because the machine did not provide sufficient shielding). The operator did not once look at any operating instructions. In the main control room, the supervisor proudly displayed their neat cabinet of pristine manuals and watching a simulator exercise, not only did the operators not read any instruction, they did not even talk to each other !

Each individual was very knowledgeable but the culture (this was in 2005) was still very 'C&C' rather than the procedure and verify methods we use.

I suppose though I must ask myself, if we had built an RBMK, could we have ever got into the same state ? In the current operating regime, not a chance. In the past ?, certainly not while I have been operating reactors.

I would like to think we would never have built anything so badly designed, but its hard to ignore the Windscale fire.

Camelot1971

2,273 posts

131 months

Saturday 4th January 2020
quotequote all
Well worth watching this chaps videos on the impact in Belarus: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxDZs_ltFFvn0FDHT...

The rest of his stuff is excellent too!

Sway

18,758 posts

159 months

Saturday 4th January 2020
quotequote all
raceboy said:
This appears to have all got a bit deep recently!
Any thoughts on the most ecological souvenir to get from the gift shop? winkroflpaperbag
A thyroid gland set in resin?

getmecoat

pidsy

6,303 posts

122 months

Saturday 4th January 2020
quotequote all
raceboy said:
This appears to have all got a bit deep recently!
Any thoughts on the most ecological souvenir to get from the gift shop? winkroflpaperbag
The t-shirts in a canister are cool.

smn159

8,079 posts

182 months

Sunday 5th January 2020
quotequote all
Bit late to this but I noticed that it was on Amazon Prime for £9.99 and there was nothing decent on at the cinema.

Meant to just watch the first episode to see what it was like and ended up binging the whole lot - open mouthed in places.

Excellent.

ceesvdelst

289 posts

20 months

Sunday 5th January 2020
quotequote all
I think people are only open mouthed if they know little of the disaster, I have always been interested in it and have watched numerous documentaries about it, so found the series awful, gave up after a few episodes, for me, it should have been a docu drama with less actors, I found it hard to watch, and as usual too character based.

I get why people like it, but for those of us who know the basic facts, understand what happened, I found it simply unwatchable sorry.

smn159

8,079 posts

182 months

Sunday 5th January 2020
quotequote all
ceesvdelst said:
I think people are only open mouthed if they know little of the disaster, I have always been interested in it and have watched numerous documentaries about it, so found the series awful, gave up after a few episodes, for me, it should have been a docu drama with less actors, I found it hard to watch, and as usual too character based.

I get why people like it, but for those of us who know the basic facts, understand what happened, I found it simply unwatchable sorry.
Wow, top patronising post there. No need to apologise buddy - I couldn't give a toss whether you liked it or not wink

Gary C

7,772 posts

144 months

Sunday 5th January 2020
quotequote all
ceesvdelst said:
I think people are only open mouthed if they know little of the disaster, I have always been interested in it and have watched numerous documentaries about it, so found the series awful, gave up after a few episodes, for me, it should have been a docu drama with less actors, I found it hard to watch, and as usual too character based.

I get why people like it, but for those of us who know the basic facts, understand what happened, I found it simply unwatchable sorry.
Lol

As someone who knows more than the basic facts (though not as a theoretical physicist), actually does the job as a nuclear operations engineer and is authorised as a Duly Authorised Person and an Emergency Controller under a UK ONR site licence in a UK power plant and has spent time with operators on an RBMK in Russia as part of a Uk Government Department of Trade and Industry assist visit (i'm actually classed by uk government as a 'nuclear operations expert' !)...

I found it very watchable and very touching. The way it describes the basic reactor dynamics is actually very clever and while there are some calculation inaccuracies, some were real ones made at the time.

I must say though, there is the bit in the BBC drama when the explosion occurs and the operator puts his hand to his face in sheer terror, THAT sends real shivers down my spine just thinking of it. I felt that was actually done a little bit more realistically in the way the operators talked and acted.

McGee_22

4,061 posts

144 months

Sunday 5th January 2020
quotequote all
ceesvdelst said:
I think people are only open mouthed if they know little of the disaster, I have always been interested in it and have watched numerous documentaries about it, so found the series awful, gave up after a few episodes, for me, it should have been a docu drama with less actors, I found it hard to watch, and as usual too character based.

I get why people like it, but for those of us who know the basic facts, understand what happened, I found it simply unwatchable sorry.
I am one of those who know a little more than the basic facts and I can't agree with you; please don't group people together with your opinions - as a person you didn't like it, that's fair enough, but I liked it and knew quite a lot about after a few years in the nuclear industry.

Sway

18,758 posts

159 months

Sunday 5th January 2020
quotequote all
A touch of the Dunning-Kruger's methinks!

98elise

19,093 posts

126 months

Sunday 26th January 2020
quotequote all
Fun fact...

The director of the series (Johan Renck) is aka Stakka Bo, who had a hit with the song "Here we go"

https://youtu.be/sGNK-cOtxSs

JDhog

27 posts

127 months

Sunday 26th January 2020
quotequote all
98elise said:
Fun fact...

The director of the series (Johan Renck) is aka Stakka Bo, who had a hit with the song "Here we go"

https://youtu.be/sGNK-cOtxSs
Good god, that brings back some memories. Remember loving that song on Ray Cokes MTV Europes Most Wanted.

Talented lad to go on and make something as good as Chernobyl.